Sennen RNLI lifeguards rescue young child from rip current as peak season ends

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Sennen Cove beach rescued a young child from a rip current whilst on patrol yesterday evening. The RNLI is encouraging people to choose a lifeguarded beach throughout September as patrols on certain beaches finish as the end of the season approaches.

Nigel Millard

Just before 5:30pm yesterday afternoon, RNLI lifeguard Bert Wright spotted a young child struggling in a rip current around 600m away from the red and yellow flagged area.

RNLI lifeguard Pete Geall immediately paddled over to the casualty on a rescue board. As he reached the casualty, a member of the public had managed to lift her out of the water and onto their stand up paddleboard. Pete then transferred the child onto his rescue board and paddled her back to safety ashore.

Whilst Pete was helping the child, her mother had realised the danger she was in and had entered the water to attempt to rescue the child herself. RNLI lifeguard Calum Gardener rescued her using a rescue board and brought her safely to shore.

Pete said:

‘After this incident, we placed a red flag at the water’s edge in front of the rip current to prohibit beachgoers entering the water and getting caught in the current. Bert was incredibly alert in spotting this near drowning from such a distance and across a very busy beach. Without our intervention and the assistance from the member of the public on the paddleboard, this could have escalated into a much more serious incident.’

Later in the day, after they had finished their patrols, Bert and Pete rescued an adult bodyboarder and a 12 year old child from the same rip current.

Ollie Shilston, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, said:

‘These are three very serious incidents that Pete and Bert dealt with yesterday and they skilfully carried out their duties even after their patrol had finished. These incidents highlight the importance of visiting a lifeguarded beach. We ask that you always swim red and yellow flags that are on display whilst the lifeguards are on duty as they mark out the safest area to swim on the beach.

We also ask that you never attempt to perform a rescue yourself. Our lifeguards are highly trained with excellent knowledge of the local area and so can perform these rescues whilst off duty. If you do see someone in trouble at the coast, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

These rescues come only days before the RNLI lifeguard peak season comes to a close meaning that some beaches across the south west will no longer be patrolled. There will, however, still be lifeguards on patrol at the majority of beaches around the region for the month of September.

Patrols have finished on the following beaches:

Devon: Teignmouth, Dawlish Warren, Bigbury North, Thurlestone, Blackpool Sands, Slapton, Hope Cove, Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Milrock on Woolacombe beach.

Cornwall: Freathy, Tregantle (closed weekdays only), Pollurrian, Gunwalloe, Porthleven, Marazion, Porthkidney, Carbis Bay, Perranuthnoe, South Fistral, Lusty Glaze, Crantock River, From 9 September, Crackington Haven and Northcott in Bude will also no longer be lifeguarded.

Steve Instance, Community Safety Partner, said:

‘We normally see a change in weather conditions during September, with Atlantic swells making conditions more challenging. We’re still expecting people to be enjoying the coast, especially if we have more good weather, so it’s important people make sure the beach they’re visiting is lifeguarded. RNLI lifeguards are still on patrol at the majority of south west beaches daily throughout September, from 10am until 6pm daily. To find your nearest RNLI lifeguarded beach, please visit:

Notes to Editor

  • RNLI lifeguards patrol over 249 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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